Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master have passed the trot-up and are set to take on Badminton’s immense CCI4* course. They had some pretty fantastic results last year, finishing 12th at Badminton, 3rd at Barbury Castle CIC3*, 4th at Le Pin CIC3* and 11th at Burghley CCI4*. Despite their middle of the pack finish earlier this year at Belton CIC3*, Rebecca says that ‘Rupert’ feels better than he did last year and is indeed ready to take on the big guns this weekend. She spoke to Kate Justice from Lloyd Bell Productions (courtesy of Badminton Horse Trials).
Kate Justice: I’m with Rebecca Howard, outside [Badminton] House, you’re about to go do your trot up – is it still exciting second time around?
Rebecca Howard: Yeah, it is. It’s almost more exciting because you know what to expect a little bit – I’ve been here once before, higher expectations, and yeah, it’s really exciting.
KJ: Have you had a look at the course?
RH: No I haven’t yet, it’s the plan right after. I was busy doing the Young Event Horse classes, so I haven’t been down there yet.
KJ: So you’ve got your hands full this weekend – how did the young horse classes go?
RH: It was good, you know babies, they’re entertaining.
KJ: Especially in this wind
RH: Yeah definitely.
KJ: And what about the weather, it’s pretty bracing, it’s supposed to be quite rainy…
RH: Yeah, I don’t think we’re quite going to get quite what we had last year, but that’s all right. We will just take what we get I guess.
KJ: How have the preparations going?
KJ: It’s been okay, it wasn’t as smooth as last year’s preparations I have to say. Plans changed a few times and on paper it doesn’t look quite as good as it did last spring but the horse is feeling good and he’s a better horse than he was last year so in that sense we’re really confident.
KJ: Can you tell us a little bit about the horse?
RH: He’s 13 I’ve been riding him since he’s 6. He’s a real strong personality, he’s not very big, he’s got that little man syndrome, he’s a little tough guy but he’s pretty exceptional in all three phases. Dressage is certainly our hardest one to get the result we want. He’s a fabulous jumper, great to be sitting on both days – Saturday (cross-country) and Sunday (showjumping).
KJ: Well I hope you enjoy it, good luck.